Category Archives: health

Oh, Great! Illness Knows Where I Live!

Portrait from the Jungle

I am desperately trying to recover financially after being sued by Bank of America, forced into a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, and being hospitalized in November with heart troubles.  This Spring has found us repeatedly beset by illness as a family.  I mean, I have known for some time that the Grim Reaper has my address penned into his address book.  He knows where everybody lives.  At least those of us who are alive.

But the Third Horseman of the Apocalypse, the one with the scales,  who decides who deserves what and how much we get and how much we forfeit, has also taken notice and recommended that the Fourth Horseman sow a little pestilence in our garden.  I am ill again, for three days now, and my daughter is working on day two, the third illness since being diagnosed with the flu in January.

That Night in Saqqara 2 No one here is asking to live forever, but you would think horsemen could be a little more sympathetic and not layer on quite so thick a layer of never-ending disease.  And yet, I am reminded that I do plan to look at the benefits of the worst things that happen to me in life, and what good things they lead to.  I have been ill enough in my life to become quite good at it.  Arthritis has slowed me, but not stopped me.  I still get around quite speedily, even though I often require a cane to do it.  I am still not on insulin for my diabetes because of my diet and exercise efforts.  I have learned how to cope with illness and keep going in spite of it.

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Now I hope to transfer some of my illness-battling skills to my daughter so we might have at least some hope of her graduating high school in two more years.

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Filed under angry rant, feeling sorry for myself, healing, health, illness, Paffooney

The Doctor’s Bill Comes Due

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I am in the middle of a family health meltdown.  In this time when the yearly flu epidemic is turning deadly, my two kids living at home and still in high school are both home sick.  And I am finding it difficult to pay for illnesses.  My recent trip to the hospital for a faux heart attack has left me staring down an incoming tidal wave of doctor and hospital bills.  I have been paying more for health insurance than ever before.  The lovely caring government has been mucking about with health care issues to the point that, even though I am paying thousands of dollars more per year for health insurance than I did ten years ago, I have huge medical bills that, due to higher deductables, leave more for me to pay as my portion than ever before.  I am paying twice as much for a three day stay in the hospital than I did five years ago when I had pneumonia, and was hospitalized for five days.  The Princess’s doctor visit yesterday cost me $77 dollars.  Number two son goes to the doctor this afternoon, and I have to hope it won’t cost more than that, because I am running out of Uber money for the month.

Gone are the days when I could afford to be sick.  Now, bankrupt and with no credit left to my name, I am going further into the dark lake of debt, hoping for the mercy of lawyers and credit collection agencies.  They may as well grind my bones to make their bread.  I have little else to give them.

If this sounds like a complaint rather than the humor I usually shoot for, well, that’s because that’s what it is.  I am sick and tired of always being sick and tired.  But I have to do my part to help the American economy.  It is really booming right now.  Probably because people like me are investing so much in health care, right before we die because we can’t afford to pay for the medicine the doctor prescribes.

My thanks go out to the ghost of Norman Rockwell for providing the illustrations for this post.  The pictures make me long for the good old days when doctors actually cared, and weren’t just making lots of money.  Of course, it isn’t the doctors who are making most of the money off piratical health-insurance schemes.  Whoever those people are, we never actually see their faces, and the voices we argue with over the insurance help lines are just their employees.  Anyway, I am not myself sick yet.  That probably comes later.  So I will hunker down and burrow my way through a potentially terrible week.

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Filed under angry rant, art my Grandpa loved, artists I admire, artwork, feeling sorry for myself, health, humor, illness, pessimism

Weekend Fun with Heart Attacks

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I’m not sure why I decided to have a heart attack over the holiday, but my body decided it was time and didn’t really give me a chance for input.   I should qualify it a little bit. I didn’t have an actual heart attack according to the final tests, but the preliminary tests were all red flags and shouting.

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So, I woke up in the middle of the night on Wednesday night with a pain in the left side of my chest.  My left arm was hurting and tingling with numbness.

Now, it is not something new.  I have arthritis in my rib cage and I tend to sleep on my left side.    So, although the pain was concerning, it was not reason to make a middle-of-the-night dash to the emergency room.  I eventually got back to sleep on my right side.  I was sluggish and ill the next morning, but I got a lot of house cleaning done and the chest pains were gone.

Thursday night the pains returned, but still not different than the arthritis pains that sent me to the cardiologist before, and not nearly as harsh and painful as the night before.   Again the pain went away in the day.

Friday night I picked up my son the Marine at the airport.  He was home on holiday leave.  We talked about my chest pains over a meal at I-hop.  He pulled rank on me and vowed to take me to the ER.  I talked him down to Primacare because it’s cheaper, still not believing it was real heart pain.

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The next morning Primacare didn’t go so well.  The EKG machine there predicted a major earthquake… or a typhoon, or something… and the Prima-doctor got all serious in the face.  “Do you want me to call an ambulance?  We are required to make the offer in these situations.”

“No, no.  My son is with me and can drive me to the Emergency Room.  I promise I will go.”

And so I did.

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At the ER they are very concerned that you don’t have anything in your pockets.  They quickly dressed me in a hospital gown and then surgically removed $200 (due to the wondrous way my insurance company has of not paying their portion of the bill).  So, lighter by that amount, they immediately hooked me up to their own EKG machine.  I had so many patches attached to the hair on my chest that I was guaranteed to be bald-chested when it came time to rip them all off again.  Then they  repeated the EKG testing done earlier in the day.  I swear, the same squirrel that was visiting Primacare when I was there earlier, sneaked into their EKG machine too and vigorously jumped up and down.  So, there it was.  The proof they needed that I had too much money left in my bank account.  And so they put me inside the hospital.

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Once inside, they rigged me up so one arm could be crushed by a BP sleeve every two hours, or more if they felt like it, and the other arm could be drained of blood so that they could tell if there was any further money in my bank account.

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Three days later, the enzymes in my blood said that what I had was mysterious and not a heart attack.  The stress test I had on Monday nearly killed me, and told them that I didn’t have enough money left in my bank account to keep in the hospital any longer.  I got out still wearing my arm band and allergy warning band as reminders that I really, really didn’t want to go back, but life is like that, and I still don’t know what caused it all, or if I will have to return to deal with it later on.

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Filed under autobiography, commentary, feeling sorry for myself, healing, health, humor, illness, Paffooney

Becoming a Nudist

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I have been to a nudist park and taken all my clothes off one time and one time only so far.  Yesterday was supposed to be visit number two.  On a Saturday there were supposed to be more visitors to meet and get to know… and I mean really get to know.  But it didn’t happen because of weather and poor health.  It rained.  And my blood sugar was a long way from perfect.  In many ways it was a relief not to go.  I was nervous about being with a crowd of naked people.  I was nervous about how to act and where to go, and especially, “What are the most embarrassing mistakes that beginning nudists make?”

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Because I figure I will probably make them.  And will it be extra embarrassing because I am walking around naked?  Probably.

But I do think it is not going to be a mere one-time experience that I will never do again.  I think I am committed to going back, not just because I am supposed to be writing for a nudist website, but because it benefits me health-wise, both physically and mentally.

To be specific, I have visited the Bluebonnet nudist park near Alvord, Texas. It is a beautiful campground and clubhouse facility.  I borrowed pictures from their website to post on this blog and give them a bit of extra advertising.

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Here’s the things that benefited me the most.  I got to meet some of the most welcoming and accepting people you ever want to meet.  They are polite, interesting to talk to, and just as naked and vulnerable as I am.  You can’t get much more socially equal than when you are talking to naked people.

The sunshine was also a very good thing for me.  The problem I have with psoriasis in old age is that the plaques and sores that result are never quite dry enough to heal when you are wearing clothes in the Texas heat.  But in the nude in the midst of nature, I felt cool and dry and hadn’t even a hint of the old itch that made me want to tear my skin off.

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They have a beautiful pool there, which I had all to myself during that first visit.  The picture with people in it is from their website.  It is one of two pools that they have there for weekly water-volleyball.

I didn’t believe it would be so relaxing and fun the first time I went, but I can safely say the feel of it, the sense of accomplishment of it, the feeling of self-acceptance it gives me, was worth all the risk of embarrassment I faced.  It was a stupid thing to do.  But I am not the only idiot drawn to it.  There are actually thousands of nudists in the United States.  There are even more  in Canada too.  I am actually glad I did it.  And though I didn’t make it back there on Saturday as originally planned, I do think I will be doing it again.

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Filed under goofiness, healing, health, humor, nudes, Paffooney, photos, strange and wonderful ideas about life

The Naked Truth About That Idiot Mickey

Well, I still can’t believe it, but I went ahead and did it.  Did what you ask?  Especially did what that makes me put the word idiot in the title you ask, after reflecting for a moment?  Well, I did tell you I agreed to write for a naturist website about the first time visiting a nudist park.  And, well… as nervous and as fearful and as willing to run and hide somewhere that the idea made me, especially with my splotchy-spotted psoriasis skin, I went.

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Yes, the nearby nudist park is called Bluebonnet.  It is located between Decatur and Alvord, Texas.  I had to call ahead and make an arrangement to be met at the gate and escorted in to the office to sign up for a day visit.  I had to call at least a day ahead of time.  I debated with myself for hours before I dialed that number.  Actually, once I took the step of calling in, it seemed all down hill from there.  My feet just sorta took me there, aided by my little car of course.  If you have read about my crazy adventures in nudity on this blog, you know that I have been around nudists and naturists before.  But I was never the one willing to be naked in the presence of others before, especially not people I didn’t already know as well as I know family members.  Stark naked in front of people!  And some of them are female!!!

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The front gate suggests I am entering a different world!

My knees felt like jelly as I reached the gate.  But there was no reason to turn around and go an hour and a half back home without at least trying.  So I called and they opened the gate.

The lady office manager was from the Philippines just like my wife.  She was easy to talk to and made me feel comfortable as we talked about my visit.  We were both wearing clothes at that point, not  a hard thing at all to accomplish.  So I paid a reasonable price and was given the run down on expected behaviors and rules.  This wasn’t some madhouse orgy site or such nonsense as that.  It was actually a family-oriented naturist club.  They expect you to act like any other camper in any other campground, just acting that way with no clothes on.

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Here’s a picture of the two swimming pools by the clubhouse to prove I actually went in.  Didn’t think I could actually do it, did you?  I didn’t have to worry about the no-pictures of other guests rule because it was 104 degrees Fahrenheit on Friday when I visited.  No sensible people were out naked in the sun.  In all I only met three other nudists, the office   manager and two gentlemen who weren’t much younger than me.  Everybody was pleasant and very encouraging.  No mention was made of my spotty old carcass, not even by me.  That kind of thing apparently never comes up.  They did all encourage me to enjoy the club and come back often enough  to become a member.  I actually found being naked to be quite pleasant. I hiked in the woods where it was shady.  I sat by the pool in the shade, and eventually swam.  I think I promised you before I would never inflict a picture of my naked spotted old carcass on you.  And I will hold myself to that promise now… even if I didn’t make that promise before.  I will, however, use a cartoon of brand new nudist Mickey to give you an idea of the nightmares you could be having if I didn’t keep that promise.

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So now I can write my naturist blog and tell other nudists all about my first time as a nudist at Bluebonnet Naturist Resort in Texas.  And the craziest thing of all is, I am actually beginning to think about going back and doing it again.  What is wrong with me?

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Well, I Still Ain’t Dead

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Yesterday I posted a long, sappy golly-yabber about things I had to tell you before I die.  I had experienced chest pains in the night and was rather planning on dropping dead somewhere during the day yesterday.

But it didn’t happen.  It was the same arthritis pain in the left side of my rib-cage that sent me to the cardiologist twice before.  So this time I got by planning to be dead today, and then, happily, it turned out that this morning I am still here.  See, pessimism works!  You only get pleasant surprises that way.

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But I really do believe that it is the trouble we have in life that makes life worth living.  I have value as a human being because I can use my creativity, determination, and relatively unstable mental condition to take on any problem.  And if I should happen to be defeated, like I was in my quest to save the swimming pool, then my barely sane and somewhat loopy work ethic simply moves me on to the next crappy Mickey trap to figure out how to get the cheese out of it without getting killed.

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So I ain’t dead.  In fact, I am still following my own personal yellow brick road.  And while tomorrow is not guaranteed, I can still sing and dance like Ray Bolger and Judy Garland as I am off to see the wizard.  And no, I don’t think I’m Judy Garland in that metaphor.  At least… not most of the time.

 

 

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Followed by a Moon Shadow

Moonshadow by Cat Stevens

I first heard this song as a freshman in coll20160424_181349ege.  It struck me that it was hauntingly beautiful… but maybe I wasn’t entirely sure what it meant.

The song is about losing body parts and being okay with that.

That can actually be kinda creepy, right?

It is probably a song about gradually dying.

But that’s not really what it’s about.

I am there now.  Peeling, cracking, drying out… my life has reached the downhill run toward the finish line.  But I am not worried and not afraid.  Life is so much more than hands and eyes and legs and feet.  I can lose those things and have no regrets.  I am so much more than merely the sum of those physical things.

My spirit soars.  And my life is bound up in words and meanings that are now written down, and are at least as imperishable as paper.  And may, in fact, be written on a few human hearts here and there.

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